Projects/Space missions of the department "Planets and Comets"

Projects/Space missions of the department "Planets and Comets"

BepiColombo is a joint mission to planet Mercury between the European Space Agency ESA and the japanese counterpart JAXA. Launched on 19 October 2018 it will arrive at Mercury at the end of 2025. The project is named after Guiseppe (Bepi) Colombo and consists of two separate spacecraft: Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) provided by ESA and Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO) from JAXA (now renamed to MIO). [more]
Cassini/Huygens was a joint project between NASA, ESA and the italian space agency ASI to study the Saturnian system including the atmosphere of the planet, the plasma environment in the magnetosphere, the ring system, and some of the Saturnain moons between June 2004 and September 2017. Titan was one of science targets of the mission. The atmospheric probe Huygens was separated from the Cassini orbiter and went through Titan's atmosphere in February 2005 hanging on a parachute before landing on the surface. [more]
Cluster is an ESA project and consists of 4 identical spacecraft to study the dynamics of the Earth's magnetosphere at distances between 4 and 19 Earth radii. [more]

The Curiosity Rover is a NASA Flagship mission to the planet Mars built and operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The rover successfully landed inside Gale crater on Mars in August 2012. The landing took place using a newly developed method involving a so called sky-crane. Over the course of her primary mission (~ 1 Mars year or ~ 2 Earth years) the rover will drive to the crater's central mound and ascend its lower part.

Dawn was NASA's mission to the asteroid belt. In 2011 the spacecraft reached the asteroid Vesta and accompanied it for more than a year. Dawn reached its second destination (dwarf planet Ceres) in 2015 where the mission ended in November 2018. The MPS has contributed the scientific imaging system to this mission. [more]
Europlanet 2020 is a new Research Infrastructure to address key scientific and technological challenges facing modern planetary science by providing open access to state-of-the-art research data, models and facilities across the European Research Area. [more]
The Exomars mission consists of an Mars-Orbiter, a descent module and a Mars-Rover. After arrival at Mars the descent module and rover will be separated from the orbiter. While the orbiter will be used as a relais station in orbit around the planet and the descent module plus rover will land on the surface. [more]
Insight is a NASA-Discovery-Mission to Mars launched in May 2018 and delivered a lander on the surface in November 2018 equipped with instrumentation to study the interior. [more]
The ESA-Mission JUICE shall explore the Jovian system. To be launched in 2022 the spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter in 2030. After some initial flybys at the moons Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto JUICE will intensively study the Jovian atmosphere and the plasma environment (Jovian Magnetosphere). The main phase of the mission is dedicated to the moon Ganymede since JUICE will for the very first time ever in history enter in an orbit around an outer planet's moon and study the moon's surtface, its subsurface ocean, and its interaction with the Jovian magnetosphere. [more]
Mars Express is Europe's ESA Mission to Mars launched in 2003 and still operating. The scientific payload is capable of searching for water on the planet, one of the necessary ingredients for life on Mars. Originally the mission consisted of the Mars Express orbiter and a lander Beagle 2. Unfortunately Beagle 2 never sent back any signals after being released to the surface. [more]
The goal of the special priority program of the German Research Foundation DFG "Planetary Magnetism", or PlanetMag, is to study the interaction between the solar wind and planetary magnetic fields as well as to better understand the diversity of the magnetic fields itself. A synergetic approach includes new methods to analyze new and existing data, computer simulations of planetary interiors and dynamos, new models of the solar wind interaction, measurements of ancient terrestrial rocks and meteorites as well as new experiments in the laboratory. [more]
Rosetta was ESA's mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta consisted of an orbiter and a lander called Philae. After ten year long flight, Rosetta reached the comet in 2014 and accompanied it on its way toward the Sun. In November 2014, Philae successfully landed on the comet's surface. The MPS has contributed to several of the mission's scientific instruments and to Philae.


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